Chitra Pathak and Julie Clayton A new approach to protecting newborn babies against HIV infection in KwaZulu-Natal is causing widespread excitement abroad, and could soon enter clinical trials. It involves injecting babies with laboratory-made antibodies against the virus. Compared with the current practice of giving protective drugs to both a woman and her child, the new technique might enable women with the incurable Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) to continue breastfeeding without transmitting the virus to their babies.
While saving the taxpayer more than 4.5 billion rands, Dr Debbie Glencross has developed a cost effective method for monitoring CD4 count in HIV/AIDS patients. The technology has direct benefits for antiretroviral programmes across the world and in particular for those in remote areas.
Three anonymous plants from the Eastern Cape in South Africa - call them Tom, Dick and Harry - are causing great excitement among scientists trying to find a low-cost, easy-to-use treatment for that secretive longterm killer, diabetes.
Nozipho Mthembu Scientists at UCT are using genetically altered tobacco plants to create vaccines against cervical cancer. They aim to create vaccines that fight the virus not the wallet. Read how. Rows of bright green, leafy tobacco plants grow in a humid greenhouse. They look identical but one row is special. These are genetically altered tobacco plants, carrying the shell of the human papilloma virus which causes cervical cancer in women.
Black Africans are at no risk of deep vein thrombosis, the so-called Economy Class Syndrome blamed for life-threatening blood clots in long-distance airplane passengers. According to Professor Barry Jacobson of South Africa's University of the Witwatersrand, genetics is to blame rather than cramped conditions in jumbo jets. People of white and Indian descent may carry a genetic predisposition to this type of blood clotting. Black Africans are at absolutely no risk.